The officer stated that Marsh found several “new plastic baggies” on Carter’s person, which the officers guessed Carter might have been attempting to use as “fake drugs.”
Baggett’s report says that the driver and passenger told them they had picked Carter up that evening and “taken him to several locations at his direction,” but that they “did not know he had any drugs.” Both the minor and Teal said they were not from Jonesboro and “did not know their way around town.”
The officer’s report — the only one released by Jonesboro police — says that Marsh removed Carter from the back of his patrol car and handcuffed him behind his back, searched him a second time, and placed him back into the patrol unit. Just then, a car reportedly pulled up to the scene, in front of Marsh’e scar. According to Baggett, Carter told the officers the woman in the car was his aunt, but that the officer didn’t get her name. He guesses that Carter may have called the aunt while he was in the patrol car not handcuffed. Baggett claims that he explained the situation to Carter’s aunt, and that she drove away. Baggett claims that as he was returning to his patrol car to talk to the driver and Teal, he “saw a vehicle driving north on Haltom” — presumably the aunt leaving the scene — and then “heard a loud thump with a metallic sound.” The officer said he presumed that the car had driven over something.
Baggett then claims that he and Marsh returned to the two other men, whom they talked to “for about two minutes,” reading them their rights, and then releasing them.
As the truck drove away, Baggett says he heard Officer Marsh on the radio then felt “several thumps” on the trunk of his car as Marsh sought to get his attention.
He said that he and Marsh returned to Marsh’s patrol car, where they found Carter “in a sitting position … slumped forward with his head in his lap.” Baggett’s report said there was “a large amount of blood on the front of his shirt, pants, seat and floor.” Baggett states that Carter’s hands were still cuffed behind his back and that he was still breathing. The officer said he radioed for EMS and for a supervisor.
Baggett stated that Marsh attempted to remove the handcuffs from Carter but was unable to because of the position of Carter’s body. Baggett’s report says Marsh found a small caliber handgun, “secured it,” then placed it on the trunk of Marsh’s patrol car.
An ambulance arrived, which transported Carter to nearby St. Bernard’s hospital. Two officers, a Lt. Coleman and a Det. Branscum, arrived to process the scene.
Carter’s mother has raised questions about the officer’s narrative, including the notion that officers missed finding a “hidden” gun on Carter despite searching him more than once, and raising questions about how her son could have shot himself while handcuffed from behind. In addition, Teresa Carter says she was told her son, who was left-handed, was shot in the right temple, and she says he was not suicidal.
Follow Joy Reid at @thereidreport